EACH ONE OF US IS POTENTIALLY A JUDAS
- Anything outward can become a counterfeit.
?Fr. Seraphim Rose
(superscript: EACH ONE OF US)
(superscript: IS POTENTIALLY)
(superscript: A JUDAS)
A sermon given by Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose
during Great Lent, 1982
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there
came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment,
and poured it on His head, as he sat at meat. But when His disciples saw
it, they had indignation, saying, 'To what purpose is this waste? For this
ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.' When Jesus
understood it, He said unto them, 'Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath
wrought a good work upon Me. For ye have the poor always with you; but Me
ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on My body,
she did it for My burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel
shall be preached in the whole world, there shall be also this, that this
woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.' Then one of the twelve,
called Judas Iscariot went unto the chief ! priests, and said unto them,
'What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you.' And they covenated
with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought
opportunity to betray Him.
St. Matthew 26:6-16
In this passage of Scipture, we read how, as our Lord prepared for His
Passion, a woman came and anointed Him with very precious ointment; and it
is very touch how our Lord accepted such love from simple people. But at
the same time Judas?one of the twelve who were with Him?looked at this act,
and something in his heart changed. This was apparently the "last straw,"
because Judas was the one in charge of the money and he thought that this
was a waste of money. We can even see the logical processes going on in his
mind. We can hear him think about Christ: "I thought htis man was somebody
important. He wastest money, he doesn't do things right, he thinks he's so
imporant?" and all kinds of similar little ideas which the devil puts in
his mind. And with his passion (his main passion was love of money), he was
caught by the devil and made to betray Christ. He did not want to betray
Him; he simply wanted money. He di! d not watch over himself and crucify
Anyone of us can be exactly in that position. We have to look at our
hearts and see which passion of ours will be devil hook us on in order to
cause us to betray Christ. If we think that we are something superior to
Judas?that he was some kind of a "kook" and we are not?we are quite
mistaken. Like Judas, everyone of us has passions in his heart. Let us
therefore look at them. We can be caught with love for neatness, with love
for correctness, with love for a sense of beauty: any of our little faults
which we cling to can be a thing that the devil can catch us with. Being
caught, we can begin to justify this condition "logically"?on the basis of
our passion. And from that "logical" process of thinking we can betray
Christ, unless we watch over ourselves and begin to realize that we are
filled with passions, that each one of us is potentially a Judas.
Therefore, when the opportunity comes?when the passion b! egins to operate
in us and logically begins to develop from a passion into betrayal?we
should stop right there and say, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!"
We must not look at life through the glasses of our passions, nor see
how we can "fit" life into being what we would like it to be?whether this
is a life where there is peace and quiet or where there is a lot of noise
and excitement. If we try to make life "fit" like this, a total disaster
will result. In looking at life, we should accept all the things which come
to us as God's providence, knowing that htey are intended to wake us up
from our passions. We should pray to God to show us some God-pleasing thing
that we can do. When we accept what comes to us, we begin to be like the
simple woman in the Gospel who heard the call from God and was thus able to
be His minister. She was proclaimed to the ends of the world, as our Lord
says, because of the simple thing she did?pouring out the ointment upon
Him! . Let us be like her: sensitive to watching God's sings around us.
These signs come from everywhere: from nature, from our fellow men, from a
seeming chance of events? There is always, everyday, something that
indicates to us God's will. We must be open to this.
Once we become more aware of the passions within ourselves and begin to
fight against them, we will not let them begin the process which was seen
in Judas. Judas started from a very small thing: being concerned for the
right use of money. And from such small things we betray God the Saviour.
We must be sober, seeing not the fulfillment of our passions around us, but
rather the indication of God's will: how we might this very moment wake up
and begin to follow Christ to His Passion and save our souls.